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The Suffering of the Immigrant. Migrant criminal network exposed. More than 40 houses packed with illegal immigrants were identified in one square mile of Southall, west London. The young, mostly male Punjabis are not here lawfully and, although most know the risks, they have few legal rights. They are surrounded by forgers, criminals and ruthless employers. Some try to get by without any documents. Others will have cheap, fake documents, and some will pay good money for original passports, for bank accounts, a Home Office registration card or for stolen identities on driving licences.
One reporter went [to a chip shop] for work. I have often recommended that we find a way to talk about this kind of migration without being forced to choose between two contrasting and simplified traps. Granting Agency to Migrants , I address the second, victimising trap and I say. Of course I believe that the world is a place of terrible differences between the poor and the rich, where men almost always have more power and money.
But given the unfairness, I prefer to listen to how people describe their own realities rather than create static, generalised categories like Exploited Victims. The same goes for people who get into prostitution or sex work — I prefer to give the heaviest weight to what they say they are doing!
I see plenty of possibilities for exploitation in the fauji story the BBC tells, but I also see the kind of opportunities thousands of migrants have told me they want to take advantage of. And even though they engaged in something illegal in order to cross the border, many are now eager to become useful, regular residents with both responsibilities and rights.
Including some of those who sell sex, which is not mentioned in this BBC article but is not unknown in the fauji world. Cambodia is one of the countries the US has manipulated into passing anti-trafficking legislation.